Panel OKs gas station for Eldersburg location Plans, which also include store and carwash, cause local concerns about traffic

September 16, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Despite residents' concerns about traffic, the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission yesterday approved plans for a gas station, convenience store and carwash at Bartholow Road and Route 32 in Eldersburg.

In a 4-2 vote, the commission approved the plans by Westminster businessman Stanley H. "Jack" Tevis III for a Tevco gas station and the other uses on two undeveloped lots at Cross Country Plaza.

Planning commission members Deborah L. Ridgely and Grant S. Dannelly sought to delay action to allow additional study of water and traffic issues, concerns raised by residents yesterday.

But Philip J. Rovang, Carroll planning director, convinced a majority of the board that county planners and engineers had approved the developer's proposal and worked with area residents to resolve their concerns.

"I think it stinks," Donna L. Slack, a Caren Drive resident, said after the commission's vote.

Residents came to the meeting armed with their own traffic count, which showed a higher volume of vehicles -- 550 at a peak morning hour -- at Bartholow Road and nearby Caren Drive than the volume reported in a study financed by the developer.

Slack said she decided to take traffic counts at the times that the traffic consultant hired by the developer told her were the busiest hours of morning and evening travel. "I'm not a traffic engineer, but I'm good at pressing the button on a video camera," she said, offering the commission a videotape of the traffic count.

Glenn Cook of the Traffic Group, the firm hired by the developer, said his engineers counted 357 vehicles at the intersection during a peak morning hour. He said the discrepancy between the counts occurred because his engineers did their survey during the summer.

Cook said the firm did a count on a school day last week and came up with numbers in line with Slack's -- about 600 vehicles during a peak morning hour.

Slack submitted a letter from the Sykesville-Freedom District Fire Department that rated the water supply as inadequate for fire protection. She said water pressure often drops in her neighborhood. During two days in August, the water pressure was so low that dishwashing liquid didn't bubble in the kitchen sink, she said.

Franklin Schaeffer, the county's development review bureau chief, said that despite the fire company's rating, the county utilities bureau reported that the water supply was adequate.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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